New overnight O'Hare runway rotation test starts April 30

Chicago will roll out another overnight runway rotation test at O'Hare International Airport April 30 in hopes that tweaks will provide the right formula to evenly distribute jet noise.

The latest version of the rotation, which alternates parallel and diagonal runways, was approved by the Federal Aviation Administration Friday and will last 12 weeks, half the time of the original.

The Chicago Aviation Department is also planning a third rotation experiment later this year.

The idea is to balance nighttime noise and "provide relief to the most impacted communities surrounding O'Hare," Commissioner Ginger Evans said in a statement.

The first night trial ran from July through December 2016. It proved popular with residents grateful for a break from the din in hard-hit communities such as Bensenville. But it provoked neighborhoods getting an unexpected wake-up call, including some in Schaumburg and Des Plaines.

The O'Hare airfield is in transition with a long diagonal runway, 15/33, to be decommissioned in spring 2018. Later in 2020, a new parallel runway, 9-Center/27-Center, on the north airfield will open.

If the city proceeds with a third rotation trial, it would exclude 15/33. Data from the three tests will be used to create a new and temporary nighttime "Fly Quiet" program from 2018 until 9-Center/27-Center is finished.

The 2016 rotation, which was voluntary, started on average at 11:16 p.m. and ended at 5:25 a.m. from July 6 to Dec. 25, an analysis showed.

For more information about the 2017 schedule, which runs from April 30 through July 22, go to

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